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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Michael Okwu Reports On "Kate Remembered" a Biography Of The Late Hollywood Legend

Aired July 11, 2003 - 20:44   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well welcome back. Barely two weeks after her death, the life of Katharine Hepburn is in print on book shelves nationwide. "Kate Remembered", a biography of the Hollywood legend, arrived in stores today. It is a diary of sorts. Michael Okwu turns the page for us.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This much we knew, Katharine Hepburn loved Spencer Tracy. He loved her back. An open secret for decades, but now more details including Hepburn's claim that one night in one of many drunken episodes, Tracy hit her across the face.

It's one of several revelations in biographer Scott Berg's "Kate Remembered" which went on sale Friday. A friend for 20 plus years, Berg says the book is based on countless hours of private conversations during which she reminisced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you? Having chills?

OKWU: Hepburn, who co-starred in nine films with Tracy, ending with "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", says she never considered leaving the actor who, of course, was married to someone else. "What would have been the point", she asked, "I mean, I loved him and I wanted to be with him. If I had left, we both would have been miserable." To help him, Hepburn considered Alcoholics Anonymous but she wasn't confident it would be kept secret.

Other revelations, the dignified actress once posed nude during her senior year at Bryn Mawr College.

KATHERINE HEPBURN: Look at me.

OKWU: Though she won a record four Oscars, her last for "On Golden Pond", Hepburn famously boycotted the Academy Awards claiming she didn't believe in such prizes. Now this, "Mine was really bogus humility because I was genuinely thrilled to win."

About Hollywood's current stars, Berg reports she likes some of the work of Harrison Ford and John Travolta.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENNEGER: Who is your daddy and what does do?

OKWU: Arnold Schwarzenegger she literally couldn't understand. Meryl Streep's work, she just didn't like. Berg reports Hepburn hosted a bizarre dinner for Michael Jackson, insisting upon his arrival, that he remove his sunglasses. The singer said little but asked Hepburn to introduce him to Greta Garbo.

"Kate Remembered" explains Hepburns disappearance from public life between 1962 and 1967. Much of Hollywood believed she had a nervous breakdown. In reality, Berg reports she's was living quietly with, and caring for, an ailing Spencer Tracy. Sad and satisfying, were her words, in fact the most satisfying role, she would say later, of her career. Michael Okwu, CNN, New York.

COOPER: Can't even imagine what she and Michael Jackson had to say to each other.

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